Fuller’s sells beer business to Asahi in £250m deal | Business News
London Pride brewer Fuller’s is selling its entire beer business to Asahi for £250m.
Under the deal, the London-based family-run firm will sell the production and distribution of its iconic ales to the European arm of the Japanese brewer.
The sale includes the historic Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, where the company was founded in 1845.
Shares in Fuller, Smith & Turner rocketed by 21% following the announcement.
Chief executive Simon Emeny said protecting the heritage of the site was “particularly important” to the deal.
“We remain incredibly proud of the Fuller’s Beer Business, its history and the high quality premium beer and cider portfolio that we have developed,” he said.
“Brewing has formed an integral part of our history and brand identity, however the core of Fuller’s and the driver of our future growth is now our premium pubs and hotels business.”
While Fuller’s will retain ultimate ownership of its brand name, Asahi will hold the global licence to use the trademark.
Asahi chief executive Akiyoshi Koji said there was “untapped international potential” in the London Pride brand which the company can use its global scale to unlock.
The move came as Fuller’s released a trading update showing a 4.7% rise in like-for-like sales in its managed pubs and hotels over the 42 weeks to 19 January.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com said of the sale: “For Fuller’s it allows it to focus on the pubs and hotels business, where the vast bulk (87%) of operating profits come from.
“In addition the cash proceeds will enable investment in these brands and properties, whilst it also retains a long-term association with its iconic beers through a strategic alliance with Asahi.”
He added: “Punters won’t notice much difference at the bar. Pubs may be closing at a hell of a clip these days but consumers still want experiences and dining out is one of those.
“Therefore investing in pubs and hotels is essential as consumers demand more from their pub experience.”